The Hampton Ballet Theatre School invites the community to come out and enjoy its ballet rendition of the acclaimed composition “Peter and the Wolf” on Tuesday, July 26, in Bridgehampton and Thursday, July 28, in Montauk.
This is the 10th consecutive year that the ballet school will perform the famous symphony as a ballet. The tradition started in 2007, the same year the school opened in Bridgehampton. The school’s director, Sara Jo Strickland, explained why Hampton Ballet Theatre School students continue to perform this particular show every summer. “It is a good introduction to performing for children since it’s an hour long,” she said. “Everyone is familiar with the music. And it keeps the kids busy in the summer at the school.”
The school will collaborate with the Hampton Festival Orchestra to make the ballet an all-live performance for the community. Dr. Andrew Perea, one of the conductors of the Gemini Youth Orchestra program on Long Island, will conduct the 25-piece orchestra.
About 50 students, who range from 4 to 18 years old, have been rehearsing every weekend for almost two months to fully prepare for the performances. Some students have been in the ballet in previous years while some are performing for the first time.
“The kids love it,” said Ms. Strickland, who is also the ballet’s choreographer. “They’re used to working on full-length ballets. For them, this is an easy-going, fun ballet. They enjoy playing different parts.”
Ms. Strickland said a few students from the Montauk branch of her ballet school are also performing in “Peter and the Wolf” with her Bridgehampton students. In addition to holding daily classes at the main Bridgehampton location, she runs an after-school dance program at a friend’s yoga studio in Montauk.
In Sergei Prokofiev’s original composition of “Peter and the Wolf,” the orchestra accompanied a narrator who told the children’s story. Since its first performance in 1936, many celebrities have narrated adaptations of the composition over the years. These included David Bowie, Melissa Joan Hart, Sting, Bill Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt.
In keeping with tradition, the ballet school decided to collaborate with a surprise celebrity guest narrator for their adaptation. Ms. Strickland noted that their show is worth seeing because “not a lot of people have experienced a ballet with narration.”
The small ballet school could not have done this show without the help and support of others. Yuka Silvera designed costumes for every character including the hunters, who are played by the youngest students, and the animals, hunter leaders and meadow characters. Many parents of the students also volunteered to help organize the ballet and sew costumes.
All of the characters will be introduced as sounds from musical instruments. As in the original score, the Bird will enter to the sound of the flute, the Duck to the oboe, the Cat to the clarinet, the Wolf to three horns, Peter to the violin and the Grandfather to the bassoon. According to Ms. Strickland, the music gains a great visual element when the characters’ dances complement the sounds of the instruments.
Ms. Strickland was a ballet dancer for many years and even danced in “Peter and the Wolf” when she was young. When the school she attended closed, she decided to open this classical ballet school to teach daily classes in dance styles such as tap, hip-hop, contemporary and jazz.
The Hampton Ballet Theatre School’s “Peter and the Wolf” will be performed on Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of the East End at 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, and on Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. at the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation at 240 Edgemere Street, Montauk. Call 631-537-8250 to reserve tickets for Tuesday night, and 631-668-1124 for Thursday night. For more information, visit hamptonballettheatreschool.com.